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Barrhead Bombers start the New Year on the wrong foot

Uninspired effort leads to 6-1 home loss

Barrhead - It wasn't how the Barrhead Bombers wanted to start the New Year.

On Jan. 6, in front of a home crowd, the Bombers laid an egg, losing the Cold Lake Aeros 6-1 and being outshot 31-17. The loss puts Barrhead's record at 10 wins, 16 losses, and one overtime loss for 21 points, good enough for fourth place in the five-team Canadian-American Junior Hockey League (CAJHL). The Aeros are in second place with 37 points, trailing behind the league-leading Hinton Timberwolves by five points, but have three games in hand.

In the first period, the Bombers found themselves behind 2-0, with a very noticeable 14 to 5 shot differential and an even more considerable territorial disadvantage being hemmed in the defensive zone for much of the period.

In the second period, Barrhead's defensive zone play improved, allowing the Aeros only five shots, but once again, much of the play was in their own zone, generating very little in offence and having two shots on net. At the end of the second, Cold Lake increased their lead to 3-0.

Early in the third period, Barrhead hit the scoreboard on a goal by Riley Doerkson, assisted by Garrick Denchuck.

Unfortunately for the Bombers, Cold Lake responded by scoring three goals in the period, including two in the final minutes.

"Any group, ours or anyone else, to come up with that effort, you can't expect anything good. We spent 40 minutes playing uninspired hockey, chasing the game," head coach Mario Haase said following the game.

He added that the coaching staff had a "very stern conversation" with their players in the second intermission. And although they responded with a much better effort, he said, it was the case of "too little, too late."

Haase said the team's lackadaisical effort surprised the coaching staff, adding coming off the holiday break, the Bombers had a good week of practice.

"The Aeros don't do anything special. They are a very good hockey team, who are well coached and are very consistent, especially when it comes to their work ethic," he said, adding which is why in recent weeks they have made a move up the standings to a point where they are in a position to challenge for first place.

The schedule does not get any easier for the Bombers this week, playing three games in three days, the first being a rematch against the Aeroes in their hangar on Jan. 12, before returning home to face the Southern Alberta Mustangs at home Jan. 13, finishing on the road in Hinton on Jan. 14.

Like most coaches, Haase said he would like to take at least two of the three games.

"But if we are going to do that, we have to have a much better effort than we had tonight," he said.
To get the message through to his players, Haase said he told his players that they would have a unique practice to start the week to emphasize the importance of work ethic and playing inspired hockey with urgency.

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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